NBA Playoffs Day 16: The Last Stand of Lob City

The Bonus is BACK!

It’s been a busy stretch for ya boy, and this is unfortunately not my real job, so, as much as I’d love to do nothing but watch the NBA Playoffs, it just isn’t possible. That being said, we’re back in full swing for now as the Conference Semifinals get underway.

Today we’ve got Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals between my Boston Celtics and the Washington Wizards, two teams that do not quite get along. I’m doing my part by wearing my Larry Bird jersey and my Larry Bird socks.

Later on, the final game of the first round: Game 7 between the Clippers and the Jazz in what could be the final stand for the Lob City Clippers.

1:00 pm – We’re welcomed to Boston for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals by Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson. Isaiah Thomas is back with the Celtics after attending his sister’s funeral yesterday, I don’t know how he’s doing it.

Both teams are here after wining their first round series in six games, and both teams didn’t look too sharp at times throughout their series. The Celtics, of course, lost the first two games of their series with the Bulls before winning four straight, while the Wizards struggled in Atlanta against the Hawks during Games 3 & 4. Making this matchup more enticing, these teams dislike each other for some reason, and they’ve shared many instances of chirping, pushing and shoving this season.

1:06 – The Celtics are sticking with their smaller lineup with Gerald Green starting. They’ve won four straight going with Green, who I am ready to anoint the 2017 NBA Finals MVP.

1:08 – The Wizards win the opening tip and quickly get the ball to Marcin Gortat in the paint for an easy hoop. They’re up 2-0 to start the game.

1:09 – Marcin Gortat makes a great bounce pass to Bradley Beal for a layup, and we’ve got our first time out already, as the Wizards are off to a quick start. It’s Washington 9, Boston 0 with with 10:14 left in the first quarter.

1:13 – With Marcin Gortat raising a lot of hell already, Celtics coach Brad Stevens inserts Amir Johnson into the game. Gortat immediately hits a floater over him, and the Wizards lead 11-0.

1:16 – Isaiah Thomas is fouled shooting a three. He hits his first free throw, and Boston crowd sarcastically erupts and starts chanting, “LET’S GO CELTICS!” Everybody’s in a bad mood. Thomas hits all three of the free throws, and the Celtics are finally on the board, trailing 16-3.

1:20 – After back to back threes from Isaiah Thomas, things are starting to look a little better, and as we go into a timeout, the score’s Washington 22, Boston 11 with 5:20 left in the first quarter. The Celtics are shooting 3-12 and are already being out-rebounded 12-2. Other than that, things are going just fine.

Also, apparently this happened…

I didn’t see how it happened, but he’s definitely down a tooth…

1:23 – Ah, the tooth got knocked out after he caught an elbow from Otto Porter. He went and picked up the tooth during the timeout and brought it back to the bench.

1:32 – The first quarter comes to a close with the score Washington 38, Boston 24. The Wizards are shooting 64% from the floor, led by Marcin Gortat with nine points. Meanwhile, Isaiah Thomas and Kelly Olynyk have combined for 22 of the Celtics 24 points. Outside of those two, the rest of the Celtics have combined to shoot 1-10.

1:37 – Jae Crowder knocks down a three to kick off the second quarter. The Celtics are 6-10 from three point line, which is keeping them in shouting distance as they trail, 38-27.

1:38 – Al Horford makes an awesome pass to Kelly Olynyk in the paint for a nice layup. It leads into a timeout with the score Washington 40, Boston 31 with 10:26 left in the first quarter. Kelly’s up to 12 points off the bench in what’s been one of the better stretches I’ve ever seen him play.

1:41 – Oh man, ABC shows awesome footage from the last time the Celtics and Washington, then called the Bullets, played each other in the Playoffs. It was back in 1984, and after the final buzzer of the final game, the two teams got into a big fight! Great stuff.

1:44 – More great stuff! The Celtics finish off a fast break with a three pointer from Marcus Smart, sending us into a timeout with the score Washington 40, Boston 37 with 8:45 left until halftime. Just after, Isaiah Thomas saunters out of the locker room with his tooth back in his mouth!. The Celtics have come all the way back to make this a one possession game with Thomas in the locker room for most of it.

1:49 – Oh no, Markieff Morris is on the ground and in pain after coming down on Al Horford’s foot after a shot attempt. We go to a commercial with him still down on the floor. Our score’s Washington 44, Boston 42 with 7:18 left in the first half.

1:52 – We’re back and Markieff Morris is at the free throw line so he can potentially remain in the game, but after he hits the free throw, the Wizards immediately foul Terry Rozier to get Morris out of the game. We’ll see if he ends up coming back, but he was definitely having a tough time walking on it as he went to the bench. Bad news for Washington as their thin up front.

1:53 – Morris is now seen hobbling to the locker room.

2:01 – Marcus Smart blocks a layup attempt out of bounds, and it’ll lead into a timeout with the score Washington 54, Boston 53 with 2:59 left in the second quarter.

2:09 – We’ve got a rousing “BULLSHIT!” chant after Al Horford is called for a loose ball foul. It was definitely a foul, but both Horford and the crowd are displeased. I am so glad that the Boston crowd still chants “BULLSHIT!” instead of the overwhelmingly lame, “REFS, YOU SUCK!” that you hear in so many other stadiums.

2:10 – We’re going to have a quick timeout with 28.7 seconds left in the half and the score Washington 64, Boston 58. Meanwhile, we’ve got some news for our next game…

All hands on deck for Game 7.

2:13 – Another quick timeout with 1.8 seconds on the clock and our score Washington 64, Boston 59. After Marcus Smart blocked a John Wall layup, coach Brad Stevens wanted to call a timeout and draw up a play for the final shot of the half.

2:15 – The Celtics do not score on the final shot of the half, and we go into halftime with the score Washington 64, Boston 59.

After falling behind 16-0, the Celtics have impressively made a game of it, getting a big shot in the arm from their often maligned bench, which came up big while Isaiah Thomas was in the locker room getting his tooth reinstalled. Speaking of Thomas, he’s got 19 points to lead the C’s, and Kelly Olynyk came off the bench to contribute 12 points.

Marcin Gortat leads the Wizards with 14 points and 10 rebounds, taking advantage of the Celtics lack of a big inside presence. John Wall has 13 points and 8 assists, and Bradley Beal also has 13. Kelly Oubre’s come off the bench to score ten.

What looked like a dreary afternoon is certainly looking up, both from the perspective of a Celtics fan, and someone who just wants to see a good-ass game. Both teams are really going at it, and we should be in for a great second half.

2:18 – It’s not just the return of The Bonus, it’s the return of Today in Playoff History!

Back in 1971, the Baltimore Bullets were swept by the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Finals, losing 118-106 in Game 4. Fred Carter led Baltimore with 28 points, but the Bucks got 30 from Oscar Robertson, 27 from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and 21 from Bob Dandridge. Now that’s a Big Three! It remains the Bucks lone championship. Of course, the Baltimore Bullets are now these Washington Wizards we’re watching this afternoon. I wish they were still the Bullets, and I certainly wouldn’t mind if they were still in Baltimore as well.

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2:32 – Al Horford corrals a pass from Avery Bradley and goes up for a dunk for the first bucket of the second half, cutting the Celtics deficit down to 64-61. In other news, Marcus Smart starts the second half for the Celtics, instead of Gerald Green.

2:33 – Bradley Beal hits a jumper to get the Wizards lead back up to five at 66-61.

2:35 – After John Wall gets stripped of the ball, the Celtics get a three pointer out of Isaiah Thomas, and they’re within two, trailing 66-64.

2:36 – Thomas knocks down a jumper, and we’re tied at 66. However, Otto Porter answers with a floater to put the Wizards back on top, 68-66.

2:38 – Al Horford wins a fight for a rebound and lays it in, tying us up at 68…

…but Otto Porter once again answers, this time with a three, and Washington leads, 71-68. Marcus Smart tries a three of his own, misses, but it’s rebounded by Jae Crowder who puts it in the hoop, and the Celtics trail, 71-70.

2:39 – After a wild fight for the ball under the bucket, which included some missed layups and blocked shots, the Celtics finally get control of the ball. They get it to Jae Crowder who knocks down a three, and the Celtics have their first lead of the game! It’ll bring us into a timeout with the score Boston 73, Washington 71 with 6:54 left in the third quarter.

2:43 – Kelly Oubre finishes off a fast break with a dunk, and we’re tied at 73.

2:44 – Jae Crowder hits another three! The Celtics go up, 76-73.

2:45 – Bradley Beal splits a pair of free throws, and the Wizards trail, 76-74. Isaiah Thomas follows it up with a pull up jumper, and he’s got 26 points, and the Celtics got a 78-74 lead.

2:46 – After a Marcus Smart steal, Avery Bradley knocks down a wide open three! We’ll have another timeout with the score Boston 81, Washington 74 with 4:45 left in the third quarter. The Celtics are shooting a robust 13-29 from three point land.

In other, unfortunate news…

2:50 – John Wall blocks an Avery Bradley layup, but the rebound goes to Al Horford, who finds Jae Crowder behind the arc for yet another three! It’s time for another timeout with the score Boston 91, Washington 80 with 2:24 to go in the third.

2:58 – A big third quarter for the Celtics comes to an end with the score Boston 95, Washington 80, after the home team outscored the visitors 36-16 in the quarter. In fact, after their disastrous first quarter, the Celtics have outscored the Wizards, 71-42.

3:01 – Jason Smith knocks down a jumper for the first points of the fourth quarter, but the Wizards have work to do, trailing 95-82.

3:03 – John Wall finishes a fast break by lobbing the ball up to Jason Smith, who coaxes it into the hoop. The Celtics take a quick timeout with the score Boston 95, Washington 84 with 10:48 left in the game.

3:14 – Bojan Bogdanovic knocks down a three, and suddenly, we’re back to a one possession game with the Wizards behind, 101-98. That’s followed by Al Horford cleaning up an Avery Bradley miss with a tip in, and the Celtics go up, 103-98.

3:16 – A Bojan Bogdanovic airball sends us into a timeout with the score Boston 106, Washington 99 with 5:41 left in the game. The Wizards have clawed back into this one, but they’re missing too many free throws as they try to get back into this one.

3:24 – We have a timeout after the ball goes bouncing out of bounds off the Celtics. The score’s Boston 116, Washington 105 with 2:46 left in the game. The Celtics have been able to maintain the hot three point shooting that got them back into the game in the first place to keep them ahead of the Wizards, who are putting up a worthy effort here in the fourth.

3:32 – A lively game comes to an end with a final score of Boston 123, Washington 111.

Isaiah Thomas, who was at a funeral yesterday, and lost a tooth early in this one, finished with 33 points and 9 assists. Jae Crowder added 24 points and 6 rebounds, and Al Horford orchestrated a lot of the offense, nearly earning a triple-double with 21 points, 9 rebounds and 10 assists. The Celtics tied a franchise Playoff record by hitting 19 threes.

Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 27, and John Wall sprung for 20 points and 16 assists. Marcin Gortat had 16 points and 13 rebounds, and Otto Porter chipped in with 16 & 11.

After falling behind 16-0, the Celtics caught fire, especially from three point territory, and pulled out quite a win to open the series. They also played some good defense on John Wall, forcing him into eight turnovers. Obviously, the Wizards missed Markieff Morris throughout the second half of this game, and if he ends up being lost for an extended time, they’re going to be in real trouble. Nevertheless, this series is off to a fantastic start, and it’ll be awesome to watch these two teams battle over the course of seven games.

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3:37 – We’re welcomed to the Staples Center in Los Angeles for Game 7 between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Utah Jazz. It’s sad to see this series come to an end. Watching these two teams battle it out has been a real joy. The Clippers are facing the prospect of not only seeing another Playoff run end prematurely, but potentially the end of this era, the most successful in their otherwise depressing franchise history. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and JJ Redick can all become free agents, so this is possibly the final game in their Clippers careers.

3:40 – Marc Jones and Hubie Brown will be our narrators for our second game this afternoon. I’ll take them over Breen, Van Gundy and Jackson all day, every day.

3:41 – The Jazz are wearing their dope green alternate jerseys. A good move for a Game 7. Like he did in Game 6, Austin Rivers will start for the Clippers, as they go with a smaller starting lineup.

3:42 – The Jazz win the opening tip, and Game 7 is underway over at the Staples Center.

3:43 – George Hill opens up the scoring with a jumper, giving the Jazz a 2-0 lead to start the game. Chris Paul answers with his own jumper, and we’re tied up at two.

3:46 – Joe Ingles traps Chris Paul in the corner, and the point god, as Paul’s been called lately, is forced to call a timeout with an early score of Utah 4, Los Angeles 3 with 9:04 left in the first quarter.

3:47 – Back from the timeout, we’re shown footage of the Clippers huddle, and needless to say, they’re already frustrated and kind of yelling at one another. Not a great sign.

3:48 – Luc Mbah a Moute draws the second foul on Rudy Gobert, and the Jazz big man heads to the bench early. Mbah a Moute makes his free throws, and the Clippers go up, 5-4.

3:50 – George Hill knocks down a three, and we have another early timeout with the score Utah 9, Los Angeles 5 with 8:07 remaining in the first quarter.

4:00 – Chris Paul takes it into the paint and hits a floater, and we’ll have a timeout with the score Utah 18, Los Angeles 15 with 3:56 left in the first quarter. As it’s been all series, I think we’re in for a close, low scoring affair here in Game 7.

4:03 – Beyonce, Jay-Z and Phillip Rivers are amongst the luminaries in attendance this afternoon at the Staples Center.

4:08 – We’re at the end of the first quarter with the score Los Angeles 24, Utah 24. It’s been more of the same we’ve seen all through this series. The Jazz grinding the pace down to a crawl and methodically searching for the best shot, while Chris Paul seems intent on having a big, heroic Game 7. He’s got nine points to lead the Clippers, and Gordon Hayward has seven for the Jazz.

4:13 – Rodney Hood battles through the paint for a layup, plus a foul. He misses his free throw, but he’s got the first points of the second quarter to put the Jazz on top, 26-24.

4:15 – Rudy Gobert is called for his third foul as he goes for an offensive rebound. He’s back on the bench, probably for the remaining ten minutes of the first half. The Jazz have been able to hang in without him so far, but can they keep it up until halftime?

4:17 – After an Austin Rivers layup, we’re heading into a timeout as the game remains close. It’s Utah 31, Los Angeles 28 with 8:47 left until halftime.

4:19 – Checking in on Markieff Morris and his ankle…

4:24 – George Hill hits a jumper, and the Jazz are on a 10-2 run, sending us into a timeout with the score Utah 41, Los Angeles 30 with 5:13 left in the first half. Of course, the Jazz are doing this with Gobert on the bench with his three fouls.

4:31 – DeAndre Jordan is wrapped up by George Hill on his way towards the hoop, and it’ll send us into another timeout with the score Utah 41, Los Angeles 32 with 2:17 left in what’s been a low scoring, Jazz paced first half.

4:35 – DeAndre Jordan goes 1-2 from the free throw line, and the Clippers trail, 41-33.

4:40 – The first half draws to a close with the score Utah 46, Los Angeles 39. The Clippers could use some more energy from people other than Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan, who each have 11 points. Paul’s added five assists, and Jordan’s got 12 rebounds for a halftime double-double.

Derrick Favors, filling in off the bench for the foul troubled Rudy Gobert, has 10 points and 9 rebounds to lead the Jazz, who have controlled the game throughout the first half. It’s been a disappointing effort from the Clippers, especially with so much on the line for them. They scored only 15 points in the second quarter, and seem generally unexcited about things.

4:44 – It’s time for another exciting episode of Today in Playoff History!

Back in 2010, the Jazz closed out the first round of the Playoffs with a 112-104 victory over the Denver Nuggets in Game 6, winning the series 4-2.

Wesley Matthews led the Jazz with 23 points, and Carlos Boozer went for 22 points, 20 rebounds and 5 assists. Deron Williams added 14 points and 10 assists, and Paul Millsap came off the bench for 21 & 11.

Chauncey Billups, currently in the ESPN Halftime studio, led the Nuggets with 30 points and 8 assists. Carmelo Anthony had 20 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists, and none other than Joey Graham came off the bench for 21 points and 10 rebounds.

The win marked Utah’s last Playoff series victory. They’re now 24 minutes away from changing that.

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4:58 – Chris Paul is fouled by George Hill, and gets a ridiculous continuation call as he takes two more steps before laying it up and in. He misses the free throw, and the Clippers trail 46-41 to begin the second half.

5:02 – Rudy Gobert gets called for his fourth foul, and in comes Derrick Favors from the bench. Gobert has zero points in just eight minutes of action.

5:04 – Ah, here’s the lame “REFS, YOU SUCK!” chant from the Clippers fans after Boris Diaw knocks down a long two pointer, and is fouled by Paul Pierce. Any chant that requires a comma when writing it is lame as hell. Diaw knocks down his free throw, and the Jazz have opened up a 54-44 lead.

5:07 – Boris Diaw flips in a layup, and he’s fouled! Meanwhile, Chris Paul comes up hobbling a bit after the previous play, and things are starting to go down the drain for the Clippers. A timeout is called with the scoreboard reading Utah 58, Los Angeles 44 with 7:33 left in the third quarter.

5:11 – Boris Diaw hits his free throw, and the Jazz are on a 13-3 lead to open up the largest lead either team has had in this series. They’re up 59-44. By the way, Chris Paul is still in the game, and seems to be fairly fine.

5:19 – After Joe Ingles airballs a three pointer, we’ve got a timeout as the Jazz lead continues to grow. It’s Utah 71, Los Angeles 53 with 2:53 left in the third quarter. Things are starting to get dire for the Clips.

5:28 – In the final seconds of the third quarter, Joe Johnson attracts the attention of all of the Clippers, then makes a great pass to Rodney Hood who’s running down the baseline for a layup. It closes out the quarter with a score of Utah 79, Los Angeles 63. It’s been both disappointing and dispiriting for the Clippers, who are getting substandard performances from just about everyone on their roster, including Chris Paul, who is shooting just 6-15 for 13 points. There very well might be just twelve minutes remaining in the Lob City era.

5:33 – Rudy Gobert goes 1-2 from the line to get the first point of the fourth quarter, and his first point of the game. It extends the Jazz lead to 80-63.

5:37 – Rudy Gobert is called for his fifth foul. It’s been a lost afternoon for the big man, but it clearly hasn’t hurt his team. He returns to the bench.

5:39 – After Jamal Crawford lobs up a pass for a big slam from DeAndre Jordan, we have a timeout as the Clippers have shaved a little bit off their deficit. It’s Utah 84, Los Angeles 71 with 8:47 left in the game.

5:49 – Derrick Favors picks up his sixth and final foul, and it’ll take us to a timeout with the score Utah 96, Los Angeles 80 with 5:24 remaining. Favors finishes with 17 points and 11 rebounds in 30 minutes off the bench, filling in for Rudy Gobert, who has been in foul trouble himself.

5:55 – A kickball sends us into a timeout with the score Utah 98, Los Angeles 87 with 3:33 left in the game. The Clippers are trying to hang in there for one last run, but the Jazz still seem to be controlling the game. Still, there’s plenty of time left for something goofy to happen.

6:02 – After a jump ball, George Hill gets the ball on the floor and calls a timeout as he’s surrounded by a couple of Clippers. It’s Utah 102, Los Angeles 90 with 2:02 left in the game.

6:04 – Another timeout, this time after the Clippers force the Jazz into a shot clock violation. The score’s the same, and there’s 1:39 left on the clock.

6:06 – Rudy Gobert gets called for his sixth foul, and he’s finally fouled out of this one. He finishes with just one point and four rebounds in 13 foul plagued minutes.

6:10 – As the clock winds down, sans a Clippers comeback, Paul Pierce is receiving hugs and well wishes from his teammates on the bench, as his career will come to an end with this game.

6:11 – We’ve reached the end. Our final score from a stunned and solemn Staples Center: Utah 104, Los Angeles 91.

DeAndre Jordan finished with 24 points and 17 rebounds for the Clippers, and Jamal Crawford came off the bench to score 20. Chris Paul, after a strong first quarter, finished with just 13 points and 9 assists on 6-19 shooting.

The Jazz were led by Gordon Hayward’s 26 points and 8 rebounds. Derrick Favors came off the bench for 17 points and 11 rebounds.

With the win, the Jazz move on to face the mighty Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Semifinals. Obviously, that’s a tall task, but the Jazz have great depth and are really good at dictating the pace of the game. They should be able to put up a fine fight against the Warriors.

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As for the Clippers, they’re starting the offseason earlier than they expected, once again. They’ve been one of the defining teams of the 2010s, but their run with this crew could be over after today. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and JJ Redick, who was a non-factor throughout this series, can become free agents. They’ve never made it past the second round of the Playoffs, and have bowed out in the first round two years in a row. It could be time to blow it all up.

Furthermore, this game marks the end of Paul Pierce’s great career. I grew up watching him play for the Celtics, and needless to say, he’s one of my favorite players ever. I’m sure I’ll pen quite the opus about his entire career right here on The Bonus, but that’s a post for another time. Instead, we’ll leave you with this. As we’re back to continue our outlandish Playoff coverage, Paul Pierce walks off the court for the final time…

 

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Author: tomeagher

Watching too much basketball.

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